Romans 12:2 'Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.'
Before we begin, I will assure you that I am not writing this from the perspective of someone who grew up in a culture of modesty. I did not care about it nor did I even have due respect for it. I would secretly and I am sure sometimes openly mock or judge women who clothed themselves not only in modest apparel, but it meekness of spirit. The irony is, that I thought that they were bound and I was free, all while dragging the shackles the world had cunningly placed on me. So, not only do I understand the mindset of thinking that immodesty and seduction is empowering, but I was a chief of sinners. In my early and mid twenties I was full swing in the fashion modeling industry and I became more and more desensitized to nakedness and having any discretion at all. To write this blog, I searched through old pictures so that I could give you some glimpse into my past. Most of the photos are so immodest that I do not feel comfortable posting them to the page, but I found a couple that show the spirit behind where I was at the time, without showing all the unnecessary body parts. Everywhere from the runway to the grocery store, I dressed to be seen, to garnish attention, and hook the minds of men. I share this with you, not because I am in the least bit proud of it, but because it's a very real and pervasive spirit alive in the world today. I share it because I want you to avoid the unnecessary pain, regret, and damage that I put myself through.
I didn't even fully realize it at the time, but I used seduction and immodesty as a tool of manipulation for self seeking measures. We are taught most of our lives by the screens around us that it is the women in the tight clothing with the plunging necklines and full red lip that get the most out of life. They get the most money, attention, status, and admiration. Starting in the 80s, the narrative about pornographic images changed from the former view of it being degrading to women, to a shift of being a source of our empowerment. We were now taking control of our sexuality, or so they told us. We had the flappers of the 20s, the bra burning free love movement of the 60s and 70s, feminism in its many waves of destruction, and then the porn is empowerment nonsense of the 80s. You don't have to look very far out into the horizon of modern society to see the fall out of where all of that has led to.
Modesty, though very much applicable to how we present ourselves outwardly, certainly doesn't begin there. My lack of modesty began in the very depths of my heart and my outward attitudes and apparel were merely a symptom of what was overflowing from my heart. You can be dressed in clothing that covers you head to toe and still walk around with an immodest spirit. Over my years in the entertainment industry, any modesty I once had, slowly unraveled, and I thought of myself and my wants much more highly than I ought to. I learned in my first week in the fashion world in NYC, that all it takes to draw someone in with seduction is knowing what to do with your eyes. It's about knowing how to gaze, how to walk, how to move, how to speak, and how to think, in order to get someone to buy what you're selling. They instructed me to practice looking into the lens while thinking things that I will not even mention in this post. The goal was to invoke a spirit in myself and in the person looking at the photo. It's wicked and gross. When you are looking at these seductive ads in magazines, you are engaging in something that is darker than what you may have ever imagined. I used these techniques that I learned to my full advantage whenever the opportunity produced itself in work or in life. I think back sometimes with such grief and regret, but I have come to a place of rest, knowing that the Almighty truly remembers my sin no more. For once I was in darkness, but He has called me out into His marvelous light.
Since being born again and cleansed through the precious blood and redemptive work of Christ, the Lord has shown me a lot about modesty and His heart behind it. I will tell you that the dismantling of deception and the growing pains in righteousness are not always easy. Growing pains hurt as they stretch you, and the refiners fire burns as it purifies. I am thankful for the spiritual and mental deliverance that I have received through the years of my walk with my King. The deliverance has brought much mental clarity and revelation of the Word, the world, and the Father's heart. I can promise you that I found nothing in the world that even comes close to the matchless love and wholeness that I have found in Yahweh my God.
2 Corinthians 3:18 'And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.'
Deliverance comes with acknowledgement and confession of our sin, a humble and broken heart over that sin before the Father, a desire to change our mind and do right according to the Lord's standard of righteousness, faith that He is able to deliver us from every working of darkness, and a genuine desire to be delivered. In my experience, sometimes much prayer and fasting is necessary.
The Who, What, Where, and Why of Modesty:
The Who - Who am I glorifying when I dress or behave this way? Am I bringing glory to myself, my flesh, or am I bringing glory to God and His saving work in me?
Is my main concern myself, someone else, or my God?
The What - What is the intent and purpose in what I am doing? What goal does my behavior and choices fulfill? Is my goal to get attention, to blend in, or to be set apart in my actions?
The Where - Where am I drawing my inspiration and information from? Am I getting it from culture or from God's word and His Holy Spirit? Do I look to Godly women and examples from the scripture or do I cave to the pressures of the women, men, and world around me? (sometimes even in the church)
The Why - Why am I doing what I am doing? Intention. Lord, search my heart, and see If there be any wicked way in me.
The How - How are my decisions affecting those around me? Does what I'm doing or wearing bring peace, joy, encouragement, etc? Is this loving my neighbor as myself? Am I aware of the struggles of others and seeking to be a place of safety? How am I representing and reflecting Christ and His redemptive work in me? How am I loving or not loving others by my actions?
May we commit ourselves to put no stumbling block in the way of our brethren.
I can not answer any of these questions for you, but I can tell you that if you humbly and earnestly seek the Lord , and ask Him to search your heart and convict you in any of these areas, He is faithful in these things. When we welcome His correction and change accordingly, He will continue to speak to us. He will refine us until we come forth as pure gold.
1 Peter 1:7 'So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.'